Our Planning Committee

The Finchley Area is within the London Borough of Barnet, one of the largest London Boroughs geographically and with the second largest population. The most recent census shows that the population in the Borough has grown between 2011 and 2021 by about 11%. This brings a need for more housing and services that support the community. The Society is concerned to maintain the essence of the characteristics that make Finchley an attractive place to live, but at the same time acknowledge that change is inevitable.

Our active Planning Committee monitors significant planning applications in Finchley. We volunteer our time and necessarily if we had more help we could do more. Anyone interested in the way that Finchley might develop and in preserving the character of their area would be welcome to join the Committee.

The Council now relies largely on its website to inform the public of planning applications, but we are sent lists each week of the applications distinguished by ward. Individual members of the team (monitors) look through the list for applications in their ward. There are of course many applications. Most are small and will have no detrimental effect on the area: we do not comment on these. Others are of more importance: we scrutinise these carefully and if necessary, inform the Council planners of our views (via the website, email or letter).

Proposals to which there are many objections go to a Council Committee. We make Councillors aware of our views and we sometimes speak when the Committee meets. Our views carry weight but are not always accepted! Sometimes, when the Council refuses an application, the applicant appeals. We may then make representations to the Inspector considering the appeal and, very occasionally, if there is a Public Inquiry (most appeals are dealt with by written representations) we speak and make our own views clear.

There are in Finchley several conservation areas and many buildings on national or local heritage lists. Barnet Council maintains a list of conservation areas here, of listed buildings here, and of locally listed buildings here.

We keep a watch on what is happening on the ground, and sometimes draw the Council’s attention to apparent breaches of the rules and press the Council to investigate and take enforcement action.

There is a large amount of law, policy and guidance which governs how planning applications and the like are dealt with. Some of this stems from the Government, some from the Greater London Authority and some from Barnet Council (especially its Local Plan). All is now available on-line, and sometimes in no other way. We try to keep up to date in all this, and to have a dialogue whenever the Council changes its planning policies and procedures – for instance on the revision of the Barnet Local Plan.

We are also alert to changes made or proposed by the Government in planning law and policy, some of which are relaxations which can make it more difficult for the Council to control development which is damaging or undesirable. We sometimes make representations about these to our Members of Parliament and are active in the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies.

If there is a planning proposal near you that is causing you some concern, or if you think planning rules are being broken, we should like to know, and may be able to help. In the first instance contact our Secretary, by sending an email to planning@finchleysociety.org.uk